Friday, March 31, 2006

Habanero Jelly

This is the hottest thing at our house! It is such a delicious appetizer...just top a Triscuit with cream cheese & a dollop of habanero jelly. My husband puts it on pancakes & rolls them up. I use it as a marinade and cooking sauce. I believe we are yet to discover all the ways to use this yummy concoction.

Orange Bell Peppers
Habanero Chilies
Cider Vinegar
6 1/2 pt. canning jars/lids

Seed/Stem, cut into pieces & process peppers and chilies, bring to a rolling boil in a stainless steel pan with vinegar & pectin. Add sugar fast, return to a boil 1 minute, stir constantly. Remove from heat & fill jars immediately, cover & screw band tightly. Invert 5 minutes, then listen for the pop of the seal.

I really enjoy making this jelly & I use Walt's original recipe. More photos (You should check the photos, if nothing else, just to see my dog balance a biscuit on her nose!)

Thursday, March 30, 2006

Cabbage Salad

GailAnn Shimke brought this salad to a teacher's luncheon several years ago & I loved it, so she gave me the recipe.

3 tblsp cider vinegar
2 tblsp sugar
1/2 tsp Italian Seasoning
1/2 c oil
6 green onions - chopped
1 top ramen seasoning package (I usually use "oriental" - this week, I found an alternative featured in Midweek Munchies) Mix together & refridgerate over night.

Then mix together with:

1/2 c toasted blanched almonds (toast in oven 325* for 15 min.)
1 head cabbage - chopped (or 1 package coleslaw mix)
1/2 c sugar snap peas - cut at a diagonal (my addition)
1/4 c soybeans (also my addition)
Top Ramen noodles - broken (I recommend sticking to the Top Ramen brand because it tastes better raw)

Mix with dressing & serve. This rates high for easiness & tastiness & I discovered on a midnight snack excursion that this salad goes well on a veggie ham sandwich! More Photos.

Sunday, March 26, 2006

Arborio Stuffed Peppers

I made stuffed peppers for Abi's birthday party. I was excited because Art figured out why we could never find risotto at our stores. Well, actually we could only find risotto that was pre-flavored & boxed. We wanted to use our own flavorings, but couldn't find it in a bag like other rice. Turns out that we should have been looking for something called "arborio". What's up with that? Anyhow, I made 2 kinds of risotto stuffed peppers -- mushroom & black olive. At the party, I was at the back of the buffet line, and I ended up with a mushroom pepper..ughh, my luck! 50/50 chance & I get a mushroom pepper. I hate mushrooms! But, I ate it anyway because I had made them the night before and a black olive pepper had been calling my name since then, and I was going to eat one no matter what....even if it was mushroom! I actually liked it...mushrooms and all. I put a spoonful of petit peas in the bottom of each pepper -- my friends were surprised & happy at the unexpected, also noting that the green and orange were pretty together. This was a festive party food that we'll do again. It was also fun making them & so took some photos of the process. (btw: I can't figure out why, but my thumbnails are a box & you'll get a large version...)

Thursday, March 23, 2006

Polenta Tamale Pie Tacos

We had quite a bit of the Polenta Tamale Pie left from last night, so with a few basic ingredients (taco shells, carrots, tomatoes, & lettuce) I made tacos. As my husband says, "You've got one here." The PTP tasted best the next day. I had to snicker a little - it reminds me of know how you're supposed to keep some of the old each time you make more? Well, with this, it's the black beans. First I made the black bean soup, then I used some of the soup to make the Polenta Tamale Pie, and then used some of the PTP in the tacos. How's that for using left-overs?! I love the saying "Waste Not, Want Not."

Wednesday, March 22, 2006

Polenta Tamale Pie

*Ground soy meat (I used Smart Ground)
*2 cups salsa (I used Chachies)
* 1 can black beans rinsed (I used some of my left over black bean soup)
*Half can vegetable broth
*1 1 lb. roll prepared polenta (sliced in 1/3" thick rounds)
*Grated "cheese"
*cayenne pepper, ground cumin, and safflower oil for sauteing

Saute soy meat in a bit of safflower oil for around 5 minutes or until heated through. Add salsa, black beans, broth, cayenne, cumin, and simmer until mixture thickens.

Oil 9"x9" glass baking dish. Place approximately 1/3 of polenta in bottom of dish. Cover with 1/3 of soy meat mixture and then 1/3 of the cheese. Repeat layering (I ended up with 2 layers of each). Bake for 40 minutes @ 350F.

I got this recipe at from Sara. This dish is filling and satisfying - we liked it.

Tuesday, March 21, 2006

Black Bean Soup

* 2 tbsp. olive oil
* 1 onion, chopped
* 3 cloves garlic, minced
* 2 cans Mex style tomatoes (don't drain)
* 2 cans black beans (drained & rinsed)
* 1 can vegetable broth
* 2 tsp. ground cumin
* 1 dash cayenne pepper

Garnishes: Try any or all of these - Thinly sliced scallions, chopped cilantro, cubed avocado, "cheese","sour cream", spoon full of salsa.

Directions: In a medium-size saucepan, heat the oil over med. heat. Add the onion and garlic and saute for 5 minutes, until the onion is tender. In a food processor, combine the onions, tomatoes and the beans. Process until smooth (I did this in 2 batches). In the medium saucepan, combine the bean mixture, broth, and cumin & cayenne. Cook over low heat for about 15 minutes, stirring occasionally. Serve the soup hot, topping each bowl with any or all of the garnishes.

This soup is delicious -- warm & hearty. We decided not to add garnishes, and we each had a second helping. This one is a keeper!

Saturday, March 18, 2006

Roasted Root Vegetables

We loved these veggies. I served them with a Morning Star 9-Bean Loaf and topped it all with mushroom gravy. This is a modified recipe inspired by Meatout Mondays.


2 large onion, quartered
5 large Yukon Gold potatoes, quartered
2 large sweet potatoes, cut into 2" pieces
5 large carrots, cut into 2" pieces
5 garlic cloves, crushed
2 tsp. olive oil
2 Tbs. dried dill weed (or rosemary, basil, curry)
1 tsp. sea salt


  1. Toss cut vegetables, garlic, oil, dill, and salt in a bowl.
  2. Transfer to baking sheet and roast in a 450° oven for 50 minutes, or until the vegetables are not hard, and have browned.
  3. During the last 30 minutes of roasting, toss vegetables every 10 minutes to ensure they do not burn on any one side.

Wednesday, March 15, 2006

Potato Prints

I pulled a couple potatoes aside when we made mashed potatoes for dinner the other night, and while the potatoes boiled, we made this. First, I cut them in half, then pressed a small, metal, heart cookie cutter into the potato -- cutting around the outside edge of the cookie cutter will expose the raised shape and there you have a potato stamp. Or, you can just use a knife and make your own stamp design. We printed on top of a brown, paper grocery bag that I had cut open and removed the bottom from. Right now, our potato print picture is hanging on the wall, but eventually we'll probably use it as wrapping paper. I think it looks even cuter now that the paint has dried. This was a fun art project! more photos